Voice Leading – Play the Guitar Like a Piano Player

My Musical Mission

I use the language of music as a pathway to explore existence in harmony and satisfaction. 

I need to play everyday to be able to feel good about life and to share with others care and love. If I did not create music in my everyday existence, life would have no form of possible enjoyment. 

I also believe that once you have felt what music really is, there is no turning back. I hope these tips I share can help you further enjoy your musical journey through life.

Concert Preparation Tip Number 7 

I share with you these guitar concert preparation tips that help me explore music as the true language of expression. These tips demonstrate a form of learning geared towards the final goal of self expression. 

Expression is not only about sharing your feelings but about being in the moment with all that exists in peace and harmony.

This following tip is about using voice leading as a tool to achieve more fluency in our everyday musical expression to help us find that state of mind of being in the moment through improvisation.


What is Voice Leading

Voice leading is a way of joining chords in sequence where all chordal voices move horizontally to the closest of the following chord, avoiding melodic jumps superior to that of the lead.

When you play chords in this manner you achieve a more passive chordal progression.

How to Achieve Such on the Guitar

Start by playing in one position all triad chords of the scale, adding all possible tensions on top, middle and bottom voices. This can take some time to master but the result will aid your creative process.

Voice leading on the guitar

9  Advantages of  Voice Leading 

#1  Avoid Thinking 

When we play live we do not have time to think as musical ideas popup at the speed of light. We have no choice but to let go and flow to really achieve enjoyment.

Playing in one position simplifies the guessing where the sound is and truly helps finding instantly the correct sound.

# 2 Play Like a Piano Player

The guitar is a very complex harmonic instrument in comparison to the piano. A piano player has only one octave to worry about and the other octaves are exact repetitions. On the guitar all our shapes for chords, arpeggios, scales, change when we move just one fret.

If you play the guitar in this manner you will learn to look for all your resources in one position with the result of creating more musical expression.

# 2 Avoid Playing the Same Licks Over and Over Again 

I have never been able to play the guitar by learning licks as the new phrases that pop up in my mind have never matched them. As a consequence I had to come up with another pathway to find the sounds instantly. This is when I started thinking and planning my practice focusing on voice leading in one position. 

Furthermore when I saw guitarists as Hendrix I then realized that he was also doing the same thing and I knew I was not alone.

# 4  Listen and Flow Like the Wind 

When I play live I am listening to the audience, to what I am playing and to my fellow musicians.  Music should be an organic experience similar to the anarchy, chaos and beauty   of the blowing wind. You never know what will come next and we have to prepare for this spontaneous creativity. 

#  5 Getting it Right, More or Less

I focus tremendously on playing the right feel bu tI also know I will never be able to create the exact representation of the feel  but rather a more or less. Voice leading gets me closer to what I want to play. 

#  6 Hear and Play

The sounds come to my mind much quicker than my thoughts. They are the pure organic extensions of the musical expression. If I practice by placing thoughts before sound then I end up playing infinite mistakes. I also start judging, not listening, forgetting, hitting wrong notes and just feeling bad. Voice leading has helped me solve these issues.

Voice leading will prepare you for a good aural understanding of the fretboard so you can  concentrate on hearing the sound and not worry so much about where to play it.

Personally I find It is a waste of my time to practice differently than when I play live so I study only what I need to get the right feel live.

#  7 Playing Chords of Opposite Tonal Function

I can achieve powerful solos and harmonies by adding passing chords of opposite tonal function and this is extremely easy when I play in one position.

#  8 More Lyrical 

Playing in one position allows me to hold notes and layer them as a piano player does when they hold down the sustain pedal.

#  9 Voice Leading and Solos

This form of practice has been extremely useful to help me learn melodies faster and to be able to create variations with them. 

Level 4 Course

In all my  guitar courses I insist on helping students feel good about their playing.  My level 4 online guitar course focuses on voice leading. In the course you will learn how to transform knowledge into creative expression.

If you are a songwriter the course will also help you create beautiful accompaniments in any musical style.